Forgiving Our Enemies: For They Knew Not What They Were Doing

Would you choose to live in presence today?


Are you without any anger? Then throw the first stone…

Now, after the killing/capture of the two suspects in the Boston Marathon Massacre, there is a need for understanding and forgiveness.  The two unconscious young men from Chechnya were heavily programmed by someone.  Most likely the eldest was mentally programmed back in his homeland where terrorism was an accepted form of expression of one’s displeasure.  Then the elder, it is suggested, programmed the younger brother when he returned to the United States.

Their actions are not forgivable in that no circumstance in their lives warranted their behavior, but they are forgivable by us whether or not they seek their own forgiveness.  Let those among us who are not ever reactive to anything or anyone condemn them and throw the first stone.  If we have one shred of anger left in us, we drink from the same pool of hatred that caused these two to harm others.  We are equally guilty in consciousness until we are ourselves clean and non-reactive.  Anger in us is the false belief that we are at risk in our lives and that we need to protect ourselves from another by striking out before we ourselves are hurt.

What is a person who has “temporarily lost it”?  How different are they from those who in a programmed state plan their attacks for days?  Both types are out of control, non-present, and angered in a state which ultimately is fear, seeking to protect themselves.

Let’s seek to end the terrorism we bring to others in our own lives through the expression of our anger and forgive these two boys who clearly knew not what they were doing either.  We are just like them until we are not.  No, certainly not to the same extreme.  But is a little bit of poisonous anger in our hearts OK?  Does it serve us or is there another decision we can make?  It’s a decision to live without anger, at least in a moment that we are conscious.  If one of those moments is available to us here and now, what do we now decide?  Let’s decide to live without the illusion that anger protects us.  Let’s seek loving justice, yes, but without the anger inside.

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2 Responses to Forgiving Our Enemies: For They Knew Not What They Were Doing

  1. Verna Safran says:

    Re-reading “The Grapes of Wrath,” one of my favorite novels of all time. The author does
    three things that modern, very young novelists of today do not.
    1) He engages in vivid description.
    2) He gets out into the U.S.A. and describes what’s really going on, rather than spending
    time going to parties with other artistes in New York City.
    3) He utilizes his anger — and aims squarely at the banks who threw farmers out of their homes, at the police who brutalized innocent workers trying to organize.

    Without anger, the best books would never have been written.
    As for the two Marathon bombers — How far do you take your forgiveness? I’m not personally
    angry at them, but I do feel the remaining brother should be locked up so he won’t continue his terrorist activities.

    I guess I just don’t enjoy the role of Goody Two Shoes– that oh-so-superior attitude of “I forgive you, because I am so very wonderful.” There is evil in the world, and “forgiving” it seems the same as condoning it. When I am bullied, I fight back. After I put the bully in his place, I may or may not forgive him. First things first.

    • David Durand says:

      Hi Verna,

      Thank you for your comments. Forgiving is not condoning the actions of one’s enemies. If forgiving one’s enemies is about being “goody two shoes,” then Jesus was just that. Jesus never said he was “wonderful.” That would have been spiritual pride, which is yet another judgement and the stopping point for many on the spiritual path. Jesus asked in fact, as I discussed in the prior article, “Why do you call me good?” He was aligned with God.

      I did not say that terrorists should not be held responsible to the law. The young boy can spend his time contemplating his deeds and existence in jail for the rest of his life, a far worse punishment than death. The error that is made is to think that fighting back means using equal hatred. Read my post about the killing of Bin Laden for a reference point.

      Again, quoting Jesus, when we live by the sword, we will die by it. Jesus never carried a weapon to our knowledge and asked Peter to put down his sword when he was taken to be crucified. He was relying on a greater form of protection, that of consciousness. Resolving hostage situations peacefully might require the consciousness of a Jesus. The police and federal authorities did their best, and I honor them for that. We could ask whether they could have done better, but there are a lot of “ifs” in that question. What if this mad young man had an even bigger bomb in that boat? Was a greater tragedy prevented by ending the situation quickly?

      Gandhi is the modern model of how non-resistant persistence, not acquiescence to the evil bullies of the world, causes massive transformation. The fact that anger may give rise to provocative works of art is not surprising as they resonates with those on the planet who are still very angry. A lot of great books were written by alcoholics as well, but that does not mean alcohol is necessary for the creation of great literature. I would guess that if the consciousness of the planet evolves over the next 1000 years, books that were considered interesting in 2013 will be considered twisted in 3013. It was only a short time ago that the world thought slavery could be overlooked as an acceptable practice. Let’s allow forgiveness and love to overtake the world, and when that happens, our perspective on our literature will shift as well.

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